Monday, September 10, 2007
It might be said that most private space ventures have trouble - hurdles from legalities to finances have laid low many a sincere effort to build new launch vehicles or innovative payloads. It's especially sad, though, to read that NASA declared Rocketplane Kistler in default for lack of progress and private financing for its effort to develop an alternative cargo services to the International Space Station. Bankruptcy appears quite possible. People at the two companies that eventually merged to form Rocketplane Kistler included well-known and respected names in the space engineering community. It now appears they couldn't quite get it done. If RpK does fail, it nevertheless deserves a salute as a valiant try, and its alumni will no doubt go on to contribute elsewhere. This leaves SpaceX as the only contractor under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.